The higher the population density becomes, the smaller the average garden must be. Schotia afra (SA Tree No. 201), the Karoo boer-bean, is one of those rewarding small, evergreen trees that the gardener can still consider for its benign root system, its size and attraction. It is unlikely to break building foundations. It may eventually reach a height of 5 m, but often not. The red flowers and foliage are highly decorative and there will in season be birds and insects checking for value. And it does not mess much.
There are two variations of this tree: a larger leaf one in the southern and Eastern Cape (var. afra) and a small leaf one in Namaqualand and Namibia (var. angustifolia). The showy panicles of red flowers appear in spring, followed by woody pods containing the discoid seeds. Indigenous people used to eat the seeds as they are, or roasted and ground up (Coates Palgrave, 1977).
This specimen growing in the Karoo Desert National Botanical Garden is var. afra, showing the pinnate leaves, but the flowers are gone as the photo was taken in January. After rain or with a little watering it would look greener.